Make Stenciled Crates for Beautiful Organization

I'm working on a full pantry makeover that matches the modern farmhouse style happening in the rest of the house. One of the things I have in my pantry is a set of crates that hold smaller things like spices, bags of baking supplies, baking mixes, etc. It keeps small things wrangled and in the case of baking, I can just pull out the whole crate to bring to the counter when doing baking projects.
I had found the Sebastian Crates at Cost Plus World Market and bought several to use for the makeover. My husband pointed out halfway into putting my things away that he has NO IDEA where anything is anymore. I was also thinking I needed to do something to add some more interest so I turned to my stash of FolkArt milk paint and stencils and gave my crates a simple upgrade that was quick and easy to do!


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Pro tip: If stenciling is a new technique to you, practice on a piece of scrap wood or cardboard until you are comfortable so you don't have an "oops" on your fancy new crates.


STEP 1: Plan

Start your plan by writing down the word you want to stencil onto the front of the crate. For the large Sebastian Crates, I recommend trying to use words with 6 letters or less. It might seem silly to write down words you know how to spell - but trust me when I say many a witty crafter has accidentally spelled things wrong while painting and this will help you!

Next, choose the stencils you need from the stack and punch out the pieces for the small letters in the lower right corner.

STEP 2: Place

Take the stencil for the middle letter of your word (in this case X in MIXES), and center it on the middle slat of the crate. Run a piece of washi tape or packing tape under it, so the bottom of the stencil is resting on the line. This is the line you will place your letters on as you stencil to keep them in a straight line.

STEP 3: Paint

Pour a small amount of milk paint onto your palate. You really don't need much - I used about 1 tsp for four crates. Barely dip the end of your brush in the paint and then rub it in circles on the plate or center of the palate to get most of the paint off. Your brush should look about like this - there is a little on the ends of the bristles but no clumps of paint!
Starting with the middle letter, hold the stencil down with one hand and use your dominate hand to hold the brush straight up-and-down and lightly brush in small circles over the cut out portion of the stencil. Lift away and admire your work! To keep your stencils in good condition, use a baby wipe or well wrung out rag to wipe the extra paint off the stencil right away and set it aside to dry.

STEP 4: Keep going!

Moving to the left, pick up the next letter. Line up the bottom edge of the stencil with the tape and the right edge of the stencil with the left edge of the letter you just painted. Hold down and paint as in step 3. Keep repeating this until all the letters to the left have been painted. Then go back and paint the letters to the right. The milk paint dries fast and you are putting on such a light coat that laying the stencil gently over the uncured paint shouldn't cause smearing or other issues.
note: if the paint smears under the stencil, you are using too much paint! Wipe more of it off your brush onto the palate before continuing.

STEP 5: Dry

Once you are done stenciling the letters, allow it to dry before adding it back to you pantry or closet.

Easy Peasy!

Here is a sneak peek of what they look like in my pantry but I'll show you guys the whole thing in a few days!

About the Author:

Carissa is a lifelong crafter and mom of two creative boys. The owner and lead writer for Creative Green Living, she is also the author of two e-books including the best-selling beverage cookbook, Infused: Recipes for Herb & Fruit Infused Water, Tea and More as well as the forthcoming hardcover cookbook (spring 2017), Beautiful Smoothie Bowls. You can also find her projects featured in magazines like Kids Crafts 1-2-3 and Capper's Farmer. Her goal is to empower families to make easy projects and healthier choices that are beautiful and fun! Follow her on PinterestInstagramTwitter or join the Creative Green Living community group.
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